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    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Dub and Dubber

    Lately my listening habits have been focused solely on a genre of music called dub techno. I tend to get sucked into a certain style of music until I've run out of air. This happened about 5 years ago with a quirky brand of electronic music called tech-house or micro-house. And more recently I leapt back to the early 20th century to explore western swing.

    Unlike earlier instances where I can't pinpoint how I was suddenly swept up by a particular genre, this time I can say I know exactly when dub techno got ahold of me. It was Thursday July 31st at 7:09pm. I was commuting home and listening to Boston College radio when I heard a track called "Distance" by Rhythm & Sound (mp3). I already had some Rhythm & Sound in my collection, but not their self-titled debut album. Looking back, the track isn't particularly mind-blowing. But for some reason it caught my ear and pushed me to dive into my dub techno CDs when I got home that night. Ah the wonderful Basic Channel metal tins from the mid '90s. Clever design, but the CD is left extremely vulnerable to scratches. Beautiful vinyl too.

    Part of the enjoyment is the thrill of the hunt for these rarities. Because, after all, how much of this stuff do you really need to own? But over the last few months, through various sources like Beatport, eMusic, iTunes and some independent sellers like Polybonk and Juno, I've tracked down a mammoth amount of releases.

    Dub techno is a blend of electronic music and dub which has its roots in reggae. One of its originators, owners of the Basic Channel label were interviewed in 1996 by The Wire magazine which offers a pretty good description of the music. In general, dub techno is downbeat, slow and warmer than traditional techno. Occasionally you'll have some singers involved, but primarily it's instrumental music. I find it a great match for driving, reading, or working on the computer. It's repetitive and discreet enough to work just fine as background music; but I find it rewarding when listening carefully too. So it's feeding my music obsession quite well.

    It's been a long time since I've created a podcast and this could be a good topic for a new one. But I'm taking the lazy route and offering up some samples in a zipped bundle. If you follow the link, here's what you'll get:

    Dub and Dubber Pack (~300 MB)

    DeepChord Presents Echospace "First Point Of Aries" (The Coldest Season)
    Mikkel Metal "Dromos" (Brone And Wait)
    Convextion "Equanimity" (Convextion)
    Deadbeat "Lost Luggage" (Journeyman's Annual)
    Echologist "Midnight Dub" (Explorations Vol. 1)
    Model 500 "Starlight (M 69 Original Mix)" (Starlight)
    Octal Industries "Arrival" (Arrival/Departure)
    Paul St. Hilaire & René Löwe "Faith (Vox Mix)" (Faith)
    Rhythm & Sound with Willi Williams "See Mi Yah" (See Mi Yah)
    Rod Modell "AbA" (Plays Michael Mantra)
    Spectral Network "Part 4" (Defragment: Part 4-6)
    Porter Ricks "Nautical Dub" (Biokinetics)
    Bvdub "Always On The Outside" (Return To Tonglu)
    Fluxion "Hiatus" (Vibrant Forms)
    Ovatow "X - Dub II" (X - Dub)
    Paperclip People "The Climax (Basic Reshape)" (Basic Reshape)
    Substance & Vainqueur "Resonance" (Libration/Resonance)
    Octex "Emergon" (Idei Lahesna)
    Anders Ilar "Make Believe" (Everdom)
    Monolake "Static" (Gravity)
    Quantec "Infinite" (Thousands Of Thoughts)
    Yagya "SnowFlake 6" (Rhythm Of Snow)
    Atheus "Unendlich" (Unendlich/Drone 37 Hz)

    If you're up for it, drop a note in the comments and let me know about your favorites.